How Best to Clean Matt Black Cast Iron Fireplaces How Best to Clean Matt Black Cast Iron Fireplaces Advice sheet

If you are looking for tips on Cleaning Polished Cast Iron Fireplaces Click Here

This article will cover the following points

  • Initial Cleaning After Installation

  • Regular Cleaning Maintenance

  • Rust, Stains and Marks

  • Accidental Spills

  • Last word of warning (top tip)

First let us congratulate you in your choice of purchasing and installing a cast iron Fireplace, Insert, Grate, or Basket which has been made using traditional materials and craft techniques. Your chosen cast iron fireplace will provide you with a wonderful and distinctive focal point to your chosen room and will without question add character, and greatly compliment your home, and lifestyle. A little care and simple maintenance of your cast iron fireplace will guarantee your cast iron, Insert, Grate, or Basket will retain its natural beauty which, is so distinctive to cast iron, whilst keeping it looking, and performing at its best. (Looking to purchase a Cast Iron Fireplace check out

Initial Cleaning After Installation Fireplace and Inserts.

Article: how best clean a matt black fire surround_traditional

After manufacture non- polished or matt black cast iron fireplaces, inserts, grates and baskets are protected from atmospheric moisture by the application of Iron Paste, similar to the carbon found in a pencil, which is then buffed up to a silver/black shine. Initial cleaning simply requires a light polishing with a soft brush similar to a shoe brush. This will help protect the fireplace and highlight the detail of the cast iron as the natural light in the room or light from the fire illuminates the decorative relief work of your fireplace.

The protective layer of iron paste should last for many years but do be aware that cast iron like any ferrous material is susceptible to moisture whether through direct contact from a spilt drink, a damp cloth or moisture present in the atmosphere from condensation or damp. Never use a damp cloth to clean your cast iron appliances. Any contact with moisture will   result in surface rust appearing on your fireplace or other cast iron product. Do be aware a freshly plastered room or chimney breast will raise the humidity levels within a room considerably as it dry’s.

Regular Cleaning Maintenance

It is recommended you lightly dust over the fireplace with a lint free cloth to remove all dust before any maintenance. After this you will need to use your lint free cloth or a small brush and some iron past. Rub the iron paste in using the small brush or cloth and allow the paste to dry for 4 hours. 

Once it is all dry rub the fireplace with a cotton cloth gently all over to give it a really nice finish.

Rust, Stains and MarksHow best to clean, maintain your cast iron fireplace

For more stubborn stains and marks for example minor surface rust or ring marks from a glass or cup it is possible to brush over a larger area of the fireplace to re-distribute the iron paste particles over the stain, rust or mark.  The iron paste particles, not dissimilar to pencil lead, can be re-distributed from one area or surface to another even when completely dry. Products such as Liberon Iron Paste or any other proprietary stove or grate black, which is essentially graphite, can be mixed with white spirit to a creamy consistency and applied to the cast iron. Once the stove or grate black is completely dry polish the fireplace back to a shine with a soft brush. Do follow the manufacturers’ instructions when using such products, wear gloves, and cover the surrounding area with dust sheets, it can be a messy business. (Find out more about the Liberon fire paste below)

For very stubborn marks, you can use very fine wire wool grade 0000 or a fine grade scouring pad (the type of pad used to clean non-stick pans) to lightly scour the affected area polishing the surface back to the required shine with a soft brush. Where applicable you must work along the natural grain of the metal gently removing the mark and again re-distributed or re-applying the iron paste


Accidental Spills

Any accidental spillage of food or drinks should be mopped up immediately with an absorbent cloth and the affected area cleaned and polished with a soft brush  to reinstate the shine and the protective layer to prevent surface rust appearing.

Last Word of Warning!Cast Iron Maintenance Kit

Under no circumstances should a damp cloth, water or water based cleaners, or water based polishes, be used to clean cast iron products

By following these simple instructions to clean and protect your cast iron appliance it will retain its distinctive natural beauty and aesthetic appeal and provide you with many years of trouble free service.


By Phil Cleaver


 "We hope you enjoyed this article. Please share your tips, questions and comments below".

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#4353 on 2016-11-09

Hi Simon thanks for your question and feedback on the article.

The Liberon Iron

You can use a high heat spray paint which can be purchased from Valiant Fireside Accessories here or other recommended retailers such as B&Q or Homebase. The high heat spray paint will restore your cast iron fireplace back to a matte black finish and will cover any silver marks that may appear during cleaning.

Let us know if this helps we would love to see a photo of your cast iron fireplace after it has been renovated. -Pete

#4352 Simon on 2016-11-08

Thanks for your article, which was very interesting. I do have one question though. I have an old fireplace which I believe to be cast iron (it appears matt black in colour). Over the years some parts have become very rusty. I have tried cleaning with wire wool, however have found that the black colouring is also coming off, revealing a silver metal underneath. I just wanted to check that I am doing this correctly ? I can envisage when I have finished removing the patches of rust I will instead have patches of silver metal showing all over the fire place. Is this correct, and will the silver patches be covered up by the Liberon Iron paste ?